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Creosote release – investigation follows

The Coast Guard received a report on Oct. 5, 2010, from the Environmental Protection Agency of a manufactured gas plant coal tar creosote waste release in the mid-tidal zone of Sinclair Inlet in Bremerton.

The source is a subsurface concrete pipe coming from the old Bremerton Gasworks, a site where a coal-gasification plant operated from the 1930s into the 1950s. The pipe is leaking creosote into beach sediments and marine water, but the pipe’s origin is unknown at this time. The EPA and Coast Guard are working together on an excavation plan to remove the pipe and contaminated soil from the beach and plug the pipe.

The Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act fund has been opened and the Coast Guard has hired Ballard Diving and Salvage to contain and secure the release.

“Our first priority at this time is to safely minimize environmental impact,” said Capt. Scott Ferguson, Captain of the Port for Sector Puget Sound, Wash. “The EPA and Coast Guard will be working together with other federal, state and local agencies to conduct an investigation into the source of the release.”

EPA and the Coast Guard are cooperating with the Wash. Department of Ecology, Kitsap Health District, the City of Bremerton and the Wash. Department of Natural Resources, which manages the state-owned aquatic lands into which the creosote was found leaking.

Shellfish beds have been closed in the surrounding area and local beaches have been posted by the Kitsap Health Department.

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